Swiss Hotel Says Jews Don’t Bathe Properly, as Anti-Semitism Rises in U.K.

Updated | A Swiss hotel is facing backlash for singling out Jewish customers using its pool facilities and refrigerator in signs Israel’s deputy foreign minister described as anti-Semitic and worthy of prosecution.

The signs, posted at the Paradies Arosa hotel, required only Jews to cleanse themselves before swimming. Another sign above a communal fridge restricted the hours in which Jewish guests could access their own food, reading, “I hope you understand that our team does not like to be disturbed every time.”

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Ruth Thomann, who operates the small hotel outside of Zurich, provided a bizarre excuse for the seemingly anti-Semitic signage, saying she has “nothing against Jews,” but that “the behavior of some of those guests is making other guests feel uncomfortable, and we received complaints so we need to be responsible for all our guests and find a balance.”

“I may have selected the wrong words. The signs should have been addressed to all the guests instead of Jewish ones,” Thomann told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency Monday afternoon. She then went on to claim Jewish visitors were the only guests who didn’t shower before entering the pool.

The controversial messages posted throughout the hotel were “an anti-Semitic act of the worst and ugliest kind.” They’re also representative of a rise in hate crimes and anti-Semitism appearing throughout the United Kingdom, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said in a statement on Monday.

“Unfortunately, anti-Semitism in Europe is still a reality, and we must make sure that the punishment for incidents such as these will serve as deterrents for those who still harbor the germ of anti-Semitism,” Hotovely continued.

Anti-Semitism throughout the U.K. has reached an all-time high, after a record-breaking 767 incidents were recorded by the Jewish advocacy group Community Security Trust (CST) in 2017 thus far. “Anti-Semitism is having an increasing impact on the lives of British Jews and the hatred and anger that lies behind it is spreading,” CST Chief Executive David Delew said in July.

Paradies Arosa has since removed all signs targeting Jewish customers. But the hotel’s response to the backlash, as well as Thomann’s statements on the Jewish community, were not enough to quell calls to boycott the hotel on Twitter.

Correction: An earlier version of this story mistakenly called the hotel Swedish and referred to Zurich as being in Sweden. Zurich is in Switzerland.

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